Toronto Maple Leafs: Top 5 NHL Free Agency Signings for 2021

The Toronto Maple Leafs made big moves to their front office. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs made big moves to their front office. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
TAMPA, FLORIDA – JUNE 05: Dougie Hamilton #19 of the Carolina Hurricanes   (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

DOUGIE HAMILTON- 7 years, $63 million  (New Jersey)

Yes, I know, that $9 million per-year cap hit isn’t exactly something to sneeze at. But really, that’s more than a fair price to pay for an elite, top-pairing RHD with size (6’6, 227lb) who has just entered his prime.

Hamilton turned 28 this June and is coming off of consecutive monster seasons with Carolina where he amassed 24 goals and 82 points in 102 games. He is one of the best defenseman in the NHL, possibly the best.  Though some were hoping he’d somehow find his way home to play with the Toronto Maple Leafs, his massive salary made it all but impossible.

4th in Norris voting last year, Hamilton hasn’t scored less than 10 goals or 39 points in a single season since 2014-2015.  He sports a career CF% of 58.4 and a career Point Share total of 64.5, which is split almost equally between offensive and defensive point shares. Hamilton is really a true stud on the back end.

New Jersey has some quality youth on their roster with Hughes and Hischier down the middle and a talented Blackwood between the pipes to complement a couple of strong FA signings in Hamilton and Tomas Tatar (who, at a respectable $4.5 million per over two years, is a very underrated player and point producer).

dark. Next. Leafs Prospect Readiness Rankings

Expect Hamilton to line up with Ty Smith, a highly-touted first-rounder from 2018 who had a nice debut season with New Jersey last year (23 points, 48 games, 58.8 CF%, 2.6 PS) and should form a formidable top-pairing for the Devils for years to come.

These are your top five signings of the summer, it’s just too bad the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t make the list.